Paleolithic Art

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It can be stated that most of the greatest examples of Paleolithic art can be found in the cave systems located in France. In particular, the Chauvet and Lascaux Caves provide some of the oldest and most preserved cave paintings and engravings to date. The two caves have been discovered relatively recently, each happened upon by chance just over the past century. Both caves also have a diverse depiction of animals, as well as the techniques and materials used in order to portray them. After their discover, many dangers have arisen for the integrity of the artwork leading to the demand for documentation and replication of the cave artwork. One of the most unbelievable aspects regarding the French cave art is how recently they were discovered. …show more content…
The entrance to the cave was discovered in southern France by chance due to three local spelunkers, Christian Hillaire, Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, and Jean-Marie Chauvet. The artwork within this cave makes up the earliest works in Paleolithic painting, as well as many of the earliest artifacts to date. Not only does the cave consist of artwork left by humans, but marks from past wildlife such as scratches and footprints left by cave bears (Curtis 38). The dates of the paintings and artifacts can be placed into two groups, one spanning from 27,000—26,000BP and the other from 32,000—30,000BP. These dates were discovered by the use of radiocarbon dating methods, with over 80 samples taken from throughout the cave system (Clottes). The documentation and analysis of the caves allowed for archeologists to document not only the dates of the artworks, but also the animals portrayed and the materials …show more content…
Upon discovery, extreme care was taken towards the conservation of the cave. In order to allow the public to view the wonders of the Chauvet Cave, a replica was constructed, modeled after the Lascaux replica. The Chauvet replica museum, called the Caverne du Pont-d’Arc, opened in 2015, breaking the record for the largest cave reproduction in the world (Clottes). The structure is a condensed version of the Chauvet cave housed in a circular building. A great deal of effort was put into the construction of the museum in order to allow the same sort of ambiance as the actual cave, reproducing the temperature, humidity, and acoustics (Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc). The Lascaux and Chauvet Caves play an important role in the current understanding of the ancient world. Discoveries of artwork that have survived so many years are not only a grand scientific discovery, but also inspiration to the human legacy. The artwork itself allows for a better understanding of the lifestyles and practices of the Paleolithic people. It is essential to find ways that allow the public to access the grandeur that is cave art, whether it is through replication or photo documentation. The paintings in the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves prove that art is crucial to the human

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